Club Photographer Alan Weir captured the atmosphere in the Glenavon stand on Saturday.
Glenavon’s dreams of a third Irish Cup Final in four seasons were shattered by an 89th minute winner by Coleraine substitute James McLaughlin, moments after Greg Moorhouse had fired a shot just over the bar that could have won the game for the Lurgan Blues.
There was no lack of effort or commitment by the Lurgan Blues, and plenty of chances created but, as Gary Hamilton stated in his post-match interview, “there’s only one thing matters at the end of the day, and that’s who scores the most goals and Coleraine did that today and deserve to be in the final of the cup. We created a lot of chances but we didn’t put them in the back of the net and that’s football.”
Not much between the sides in a tight first half.
Glenavon got on the front foot from the kick off and Joel Cooper and James Singleton had shots blocked and Greg Moorhouse swivelled at the far post but put a shot just wide.
Andrew Hall volleyed a layoff by Guy Bates into the side netting five minutes before the break.
Johnny Tuffey has been called into action to make a reflex save at his near post to keep out Ciaron Harkin’s flick from McGonigle’s low cross and then he made a double save to deny former Glenavon striker Eoin Bradley who had managed to shake off his marker for once before hitting the target from a tight angle, the Glenavon keeper getting back on his feet to push the follow up round the post.
Brad Lyons bundled the ball over the line from a Ciaron Harkin corner in the 48th minute as Eoin Bradley backed in to Johnny Tuffey on the goal line.
As Glenavon pressed for an equaliser Greg Moorhouse latched on to weak clearing header and struck a good shot from the right of the box that Chris Johns saved brilliantly with an outstretched boot.
James Singleton equalised in the 69th minute, heading in at the front post from a Mark Sykes corner.
Guy Bates then saw a low shot rebound off the foot of the post as he almost caught Chris Johns out at his near post.
Less than a minute after Greg Moorhouse carved open a great chance for himself but blazed over from 12 yards, Coleraine broke down the right and Bradley crossed for the unmarked sub James McLaughlin to head past Tuffey from 8 yards.
Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Canning, Marron, Elebert (Kilmartin 84), Singleton, Hall (Sykes 60), Martyn, Marshall, Cooper, Moorhouse (Gray 90), Bates. Subs: Hamilton, Kilmartin, Patton, Sykes, Gray
Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Ogilby (c), Harkin, Mullan, Parkhill (McLaughlin 76), McCauley, McConaghie, Lyons, McGonigle (Kee 90), Bradley. Subs: Douglas, McCafferty, McLaughlin, Kee, Doherty (GK)
Referee: Raymond Crangle
Assistant Referees: Gareth Eakin, Mark O’Brien
4th Official: Ian McNabb
If Tennent’s Irish Cup holders Glenavon are to make it to a third final in four seasons, they will have to beat the form team of the moment when they take on Coleraine at the Ballymena Showgrounds tomorrow (kick off 5:15pm).
Oran Kearney’s Bannsiders are unbeaten in 14 games and are aiming to reach the final for the first time since 2008 when they lost 2-1 to Linfield. Their last success in the final came in 2003 when they defeated Glentoran 1-0 and they also made the final the following season only to lose by the same margin to the Oval outfit.
Gary Hamilton accepts that, on current form, his side go into the game tomorrow as underdogs. “You can’t argue with Coleraine’s fine form at the moment and you can’t argue that we’re not the underdogs going into this game. At the minute the momentum is with them and it looks as if they’re going to finish third in the league if they keep going the way they’re going.
“By the same token, we’ve played all these teams before; we’ve had difficult games before, and the boys just have to believe in themselves and go out and give it their all and believe they can beat Coleraine Football Club. If they don’t believe that they might as well not turn up. It’s going to be difficult, they are going to be favourites but we also know that if we show our potential and play to our capabilities, then we’re capable of beating anybody as we’ve proved last year and in games this year as well.
“It all comes down to the day and hopefully on the day we can perform, hopefully we’re up for it, not like the last semi-final against Carrick in the League Cup, but hopefully we’ll go out and give everything we’ve got. We all know in Cup football you can go out and give everything and maybe not get the breaks and still get beaten but as long as the players give their teammates and the supporters and the Club every single ounce of energy they’ve got, that’s all we can ask for. If they’re done by an unlucky decision or whatever then you just accept that but we have to give everything.
“The last couple of years in semi-finals, I’ve always said you need a wee rub of the green at times and, looking back, if you look at the first semi-final against Crusaders we had a penalty which we missed and then Crusaders had a penalty, which if they’d scored, it wouldn’t have went to extra time, but we ended up winning. The last one against Crusaders (last year) they had a chance when they were 3-2 up to make it 4-2, they didn’t take it and we ended up getting an equaliser and going on to win 4-3. There’s these wee breaks in Cup football that don’t really happen as often in league football and you have to take your opportunities when they come along and be confident and give everything you’ve got – that’s what football’s about, especially cup football because you only get one chance at it.”
Glenavon will play in their change strip of orange shirts and black shorts and BlueZone (open tonight 7.30-8.30pm) has a special offer on the away shirts:
Adults – NOW only £33
Kids – NOW only £29
Available while stocks last.
BBC Sport NI revealed on Friday afternoon that the game will be streamed live on the BBC Sport NI website and their Facebook page.
As Saturday’s Tennent’s Irish Cup semi-final with Coleraine fast approaches the excitement around Mourneview Park and amongst our fans worldwide is mounting.
If you are still looking for some official Glenavon merchandise don’t forget that the club shop BlueZone is open on Friday night from 7:30-8:30pm and, if you spend over £10.00, you’ll be entered into a FREE draw for a pair of tickets to Saturday’s semi-final! Draw to be made on Friday night at 8.30pm.
The game kicks off at 5:15pm at Ballymena Showgrounds – see below for supporter information – and Glenavon will be playing in the orange strip.
Update (Thursday): We have now been advised by the IFA:
• Tickets will be available to purchase online up to 2pm only tomorrow, after this time, tickets will not be available to purchase online or at the ground.
• Collection point for tickets at the ground for Glenavon supporters seated in the Main Stand: ECOS entrance to Showgrounds in the Events Car Park (beside Slemish Hall).
We understand from the IFA there is now only a small number tickets for the Glenavon stand for our forthcoming Irish Cup semi final still available for sale from the Ticketmaster website. You are reminded that to guarantee adjacent seating for holders of Adult and Concession tickets then you must purchase tickets from the Ticketmaster website. Tickets purchased from to-day via the website will not be posted out but instead can be collected outside the ground prior to the game. In due course you will receive an e-mail from the IFA outlining details of the collection point. Tickets cannot be purchased from the website after 2:00 pm on Friday morning.
Tickets remain on sale from the club office which is open Thursday morning from 9:30 to 12 noon. Tickets can also be ordered on Friday evening from BlueZone, open from 7:30 to 8:30pm, for collection from the club office which will be open from 11am to 12noon on the morning of the game.
Thank you for your support.